On Saturday, we went out on a double date to celebrate my husband’s birthday and a girlfriend’s birthday.  We had reservations for four at The Victor Restaurant at Parq Vancouver.

To those who haven’t been to Parq, it’s definitely a great place to check out.  It’s a full entertainment destination with a Vegas-esque casino, several restaurants and lounges.  The Victor has been on my radar since it opened, so I thought the husband’s birthday would be a great opportunity to check it out.

I called weeks prior to our night out to book our reservation.  Making resos was easy enough.  They offered me time slots that they had and we opted for a 6:30 spot.  I was asked if it was a special occasion and I explained that we were celebrating birthdays.  The woman I spoke to was polite.  It was a short call.

The day of our dinner, our friends were running a bit late so I called to let the restaurant know that we were running 15 minutes behind.  This time around I found the woman on the phone a bit short with me.  She explained that they needed to turn the table around by 8:15 and we’d have to be done by then for the next group.  That was fine.

The entrance to the Victor is beautiful.  360 views of mini fountains, surrounding landscape and BC Place.  A great photo-op.

We walked through the door to this beautiful restaurant.  Dark wood, deep greens and funky light fixtures fill the restaurant.  There’s a very masculine, sexy vibe.  The interior is stunning.

We were seated in the corner and our server came over to greet us.  He was professional, but perhaps a bit impersonal.  There was no extra conversation, wit or flare.  When ordering our first cocktails, my husband asked for a sazerac, but the waiter seemed confused.  My husband then asked if he would make a recommendation for a darker, bourbon-based cocktail.  The waiter was stumped, but said he would speak with the bartender and get back to him.  He left for a few minutes and returned.  He came with two options, an old fashioned and another option.  Chris inquired about the other option, but the waiter wasn’t able to give any more information, so Chris opted for the old fashioned.   Although he said it was delicious, it is a normal staple for him.  He was hoping to try something different.  I was surprised that in such an upscale establishment the server didn’t have a greater knowledge of the cocktails.  During my night I tried the Port Royal and the Emperor’s Sour.  Both cocktails were very good.  The cocktails here are delicious.

The wait for the food was quite long (over an hour), so the chance of us leaving by 8:15 like they had asked didn’t happen as our food hadn’t made it to the table yet.

I’ll get right into the dinner.  We were served the house bread with caramelized onions.  It was interesting and had potential, but everyone at our table agreed that it was on the salty side.  I don’t know if this is how it’s usually served or if we just got a salty batch, but the salt was overpowering.  We started with the dynamite roll.  It was pretty good.  I have no complaints about it.  Our friends ordered the king salmon tartare.  We tried some and it was yummy.  For dinner I ordered a flat iron steak for dinner and my husband had the strip loin steak, both with chimichurri sauce. We went for onion rings and the mac and cheese waffles for sides.  Unfortunately, the temperature of both of our steaks were a bit overdone.  I also found the presentation to be lacking.  It almost seems like they just threw the meat on the plate and brought it out.  Mine had a few peppers and a couple tiny potato garnishes (I couldn’t tell what they were until I bit into it).  The onion rings were good, but my favorite part of dinner were the mac and cheese waffles – unique, cheesy and delicious.  Our friends ordered the scallops and the ahi tuna for their mains.  Their dishes were plated beautifully and they both seemed to enjoy their meals.  Although the restaurant markets itself as a steakhouse, perhaps the lesson I learned is to not order the steak.  They seem to do seafood better than they do steak.  I may have made different choices if I had known that going in.

Some other things that I think are important to note – the waiter didn’t leave the cocktail menu on our table.  We were ready for a night out to celebrate and have some drinks, but he didn’t come around nearly enough for us to ask him for the menu. After each time we ordered a drink the cocktail menu was taken away.  At one point, my girlfriend (whose birthday it was) waited much, much too long before she had the opportunity to first ask for the menu, then order a drink.  Leaving the cocktail menu at the table and checking on us a bit more frequently would have made them much more money from us.  Also, why ask me on the phone if it was a special occasion, but not acknowledge that it is?  I’ve been to many restaurants on special occasions and in the past I’ve come across restaurants providing signed cards, presenting desserts or even simply just sweetly acknowledging the event.  None of that happened here.   Some cuteness on the way out – they offer cherry blasters instead of mints after dinner.

I do see potential with this restaurant.  Although I wasn’t a fan of my main, there were parts of our meal that I greatly appreciated, the cocktails were creative and refreshing and the seafood seemed to be done well.  I don’t know that I’ll go back anytime soon, but I won’t completely rule it out.  Perhaps one day I’ll go back again…